The Registrars Who Shut Down Websites After Demands From City Of London Police Likely Violated ICANN Policy
from the not-how-it-works dept
In fact, Mark Jeftovic, the head of EasyDNS, the one registrar that appears to have both refused the City of London Police's demand and also spoken out publicly about this terrible attack on due process, is now noting that all of the other registrars who complied with the orders are almost certainly in violation of ICANN's policies because they obeyed the police. The main issue is that part of the demand from the police was that the registrar not only redirect the site to a propaganda page, but that it also "freeze the whois record" to block any further changes.
But, as Jeftovic points out, ICANN has very specific rules about these things, and because some random police force demands it is not an approved reason to do such a thing:
Since there were no charges against any of the domains and no court orders, it may be at the registrars' discretion to play ball with these ridiculous demands. However – what they clearly cannot do now, is prevent any of those domain holders from simply transferring out their names to more clueful, less wimpy registrars.Jeftovic further notes that the registrars who folded upon receiving the police threat have now opened themselves up to significant liability problems, because the sites that got taken down can respond via the Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy (TDRP), which could mean that the registrars will have to pay "substantial" fees for blocking the transfer without a valid basis.
If any of those registrars denied the ability to do that, then they would be in clear violation of the ICANN Inter-Registrars Transfer Policy.
Section 3, Obligations of The Registrar of Record clearly spells out the reasons why a registrar may deny a transfer-out request, and they are limited specifically to cases of fraud (the domain was paid for fraudulently), a UDRP proceeding or, hey, get this one "Court order by a court of competent jurisdiction", as well as some administrative reasons (like the domain was registered less than 60 days ago).
What is conspicuously absent from the list of reasons why a registrar that actually complied with this lunacy can now deny a transfer-out request is "because some guy sent you an email telling you to lock it down".
It certainly would be interesting to see the full list of sites the City of London Police decided to censor, as well as who the various registrars are, and how they reacted. While such a list doesn't appear to be out yet, I imagine it's only a matter of time.